In case you hadn’t noticed, there have been six Spider-Man movies in the last 15 years. If you are a Spidey fan in need of another one, get ready to celebrate – ‘Spider-Man: The Homecoming’ has arrived. This time the Peter Parker/Spider-Man we met briefly in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is back in a movie of his own. At last able to expand on his fleeting appearance, where his main claim to fame was stealing Captain America’s shield, we find Peter Parker (Tom Holland) trying to work out where he fits in with the Avengers. At the same time Parker is struggling to juggle all the normal angst of being a 15 year old with the added complication / benefit of possessing superhero powers. What could possibly go wrong?
Familiar characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe appear in supporting roles in the film, particularly Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man. He has appointed himself as Spider-Man’s mentor and father figure, although leaves his assistant Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to be Parker’s direct contact. Happy is less than thrilled. Chris Evans manages to score an amusing small role as Captain America in a series of PSA at Peter’s school. Director Jon Watts provides a movie that enjoys poking fun at itself. References to previous Spider-Man movies, in particular the upside-down kiss between Kirstin Dunst and Tobey Maguire are also wittily provided.
Tom Holland is refreshingly youthful looking, remarkably believable as a high school student, and portrays a boyish appeal with nerdy naivety. His habit of catching neighbourhood ‘crooks’ and leaving explanatory notes to the police with them adds a great touch of humour and charm. Poor Parker is desperately waiting for his call up to be a real superhero. Best mate geeky Ned (Jacob Batalon) is light relief, wanting to come over and construct his 3000 piece lego Death Star while Parker is trying to clean up crime around his town. Parker is also anxiously trying to impress and spend time with potential love interest Liz (Laura Harrier) and avoid wisecracks from fellow student Michelle, played by an unusually caustic Zendaya.
Michael Keaton is embittered villain Adrian Toomes, his construction clearing company put out of a job by Stark Industries. By keeping and collecting alien technology that should be released to Stark, Keaton becomes the Vulture, producing a black market in high tech weaponry. Parker becomes aware of what is going on, and running out of patience with having to leave voicemail status reports for his contact Happy, decides to try taking on the villain himself…much to the consternation of his mentor Iron Man.
Spider-Man: Homecoming has a great human touch, its focus on Peter Parker the teenager as well as superhero gives this film that something extra. There is something special seeing a superhero being taught by his Aunt May how to get ready for school dance and having to refer to a google video on how to tie a tie. We’ve all been there – Spider-Man is a person just like us.
Rating: M Violence.